Books: The Legacies of Heroes

In two remarkable books, sons learn what their fathers--and a generation--did in World War II

In bombers named for girls, we burned/The cities we had learned about in school" is how the poet Randall Jarrell remembered World War II. Paul Tibbets, the man who piloted the Enola Gay, the B-29 that incinerated Hiroshima, is more prosaic: "There was no city, there was nothing but the fringes of where the city used to be."

Months earlier John Bradley had been one of the six men immortalized in Joe Rosenthal's one-in-a-million photograph of the flag raising atop Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi. After the war, Tibbets went home to Columbus, Ohio, to eventually run a corporate-jet service and shun...

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